Back from the Brink
I first found out about Work It Out through someone I follow on Twitter tweeting about the amazing first coaching session she had had, and encouraging other people to check Young Women’s Trust (YWT) out.
I had a look on the website, and the Work It Out service looked like exactly what I needed. I have had quite a rocky couple of years with work – I was made redundant from a role after only 8 months, bullied and fired from a job when my employer found out I had a history of mental health problems, was out of work for a little while and then found a job at a charity, but it was only temporary.
This was the point at which I first got in touch with YWT – while I was glad I had managed to find another job, my confidence and self-esteem was at rock bottom after the experiences I had had. I wondered if I was even capable of working at all, and was terrified of what was going to happen after my short term contract finished.
My coach Denise was seriously incredible. I have had counselling and other talking treatments in the past for my health difficulties, but coaching was something completely different and completely new. Denise encouraged me to look for the small positive things I had done each day, and while it was challenging to think of anything to start with, it got much easier as time went on. It helped me challenge my negative view of myself, and made me realise that even when everything feels bad, there are always small positive things you have done that can go unnoticed when you feel really rubbish – the trick is to focus on these things. This technique challenged me to think in a completely different way about work, and about myself and my life.
When the time came to start looking for another job when my contract was coming to an end, I was able to talk through how to plan out when I was going to do my job search. This was helpful, as it meant I didn’t leave everything to the last minute and made sure I was in the right headspace to do job applications.
What I really loved about the coaching was that it looked at your whole life and everything that was going on that might impact on how you feel and how you are doing at work. This was really great, as it acknowledged that work isn’t just a stand-alone thing, it can be affected by health, housing, relationships, interactions with other services, etc. It really helped to have the space to consider lots of different options when things got difficult.
One of the most significant things that I will remember from the coaching was Denise saying to me at the end of the sessions, “it’s you who made these sessions useful, not me. You really used the sessions well.” This made me feel really empowered and helped me realise that I have the power inside myself to change my life for the better, even if I sometimes don’t feel like it.
When I look back now at how small and incapable I was made to feel when I was fired from my previous job and all the negative experiences I have had with work, I definitely feel very different now. I know more about my rights, and feel more confident asking for what I need. I can feel that I have grown so much since then, and the Work It Out coaching was a big part of that journey.
I am so grateful to Denise and to YWT for supporting me through some really difficult times. The coaching really was a lifeline for me - when everyone else seemed to be turning their back on me, it meant the world having someone there to help me through.